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posted by martyb on Tuesday February 21 2017, @08:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the higher-availability dept.

More organs have become available for transplant in British Columbia, Canada, due to a rise in drug overdoses:

After a brutal year where more than 900 people died of drug overdoses in British Columbia, doctors are pointing to one morbid upside. It might sound like something out of a dystopian horror comic, where drug users are wiped out and harvested for organs. New stats released by the health agency responsible for organ transplants show that's not exactly a far-off nightmare anymore. Health officials have noticed a significant uptick in organ donor deaths, and say that fentanyl is likely playing a role. According to BC Transplant, the number of organ donors in the first weeks of 2017 has doubled over this time last year, from 10 to 20. That's resulted in 59 transplants, up from 37 organs over the same period in 2016.

[...] "We started tracking the connection between fentanyl and organ donation more closely at the start of 2017, and fentanyl has been a contributing factor in about a quarter of our donors so far this year." BC Transplant's statement cautions against drawing conclusions based on a small amount of recent data. But long term trends show the proportion of organ donors dying from overdose has gone up steadily over many years. Back in 2013, 7.5 percent of organ donors tested positive for drugs. In 2016, that number rose to 22.7 percent.

Previously: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Obama Administration Expands Access to Suboxone Treatment
DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
The Calm Before the Kratom Ban

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday February 21 2017, @02:43PM

    by VLM (445) on Tuesday February 21 2017, @02:43PM (#469683)

    moonshine which risks immediate blindness

    Yeah that's "reefer madness" stuff from prohibition, still around. I used to brew and being into or formerly into chemistry I dug in and its pretty interesting.

    First of all if you drink about 10000L of fruit juice relatively quickly or maybe 4 or 5 pallets of apple crates you'll die. Long before you'd get really sick from methanol poisoning.

    Its interesting that the problem is the fruit juice itself. Brewing just makes lazy adult humans drink more fruit juice, and obviously distillation concentrates it even more. Drinking six liters of hard cider a day won't give you any worse methanol poisoning than drinking six liters of plain old apple juice, its just more culturally acceptable or believable that someone lost their sight or died from alcohol consumption instead of drinking literal gallons per day of cider.

    Pectin in fruit (the same stuff that makes jam/jellies) can ferment or get enzymatically converted into methanol. Its a measurable problem.

    When you brew cider they want you to run a clarify step to filter the pectin and pulp crap out with diatom earth or high tech high pressure filters to clean it. I suppose a lazy as hell cider brewer could skip that and generate a murky looking brew that produces wicked hangovers. If you were to distill that into a brandy and drink a couple liters a day, assuming your liver didn't kill you, after a couple years long term methanol intake could be an issue. But most people would have died of liver cancer long before the methanol makes them blind. Yet, its statistics, and maybe 1 in 100 will live long enough to go blind first. In summary if you drink an insane amount of hard cider you'll die, and most will die of liver cancer and other extreme alcoholism effects but the extreme tail end will include people dying of methanol related problems. If you're not drinking enough to die its not going to be a problem.

    Real methanol poisoning DID happen but its because methanol smells alcohol-ish and temporarily gets people high, but its like claiming that Agatha Christie detective novels involve poison delivered by tea therefore tea is inherently poisonous. Or a heroin dealer trying to kill off someone could cut the stuff with rat poison therefore heroin is inherently poisonous. Nope. People die from methanol poisoning and its just simple first degree murder, nothing to do with brewing other than reefer madness level propaganda from the prohibition era. If someone wants to kill you or wants to frame a supplier for killing you, and you're drinking liquor, well, the drinking booze makes it easier. To some extent its like arguing gun control. Gun has never hurt anyone, ever, but murderers using guns is a problem. If a cop walked into a speakeasy during prohibition and ordered a screwdriver, it was quite possibly OJ and paint thinner, but thats because they wanted to kill the cop, not because brewing makes significant amounts of methanol. So yeah people have been killed by methanol poisoning, but its a very rare first degree murder problem not an industry wide production problem.

    Its a pity that separating methanol from water is as hard as separating ethanol as its "almost" a fuel source. If you get a fraction of a percent by volume from a million gallons of apple cider, that's probably enough to run in an engine to power at least part of the cider press plant. A small percentage of a hell of a lot of stuff is a modest amount.

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  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Tuesday February 21 2017, @05:40PM

    by butthurt (6141) on Tuesday February 21 2017, @05:40PM (#469784) Journal

    Someone wrote on Usenet:

    Apple juice would be especially high in methanol, since manufacturers treat it with commercial pectin esterase to get rid of cloudiness, and in this case there isn't anywhere for the methanol to go except to stay in solution.

    -- []

    It checks out. []

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday February 21 2017, @05:52PM

    by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday February 21 2017, @05:52PM (#469789) Journal

    Unless you count the US government purposefully poisoning moonshine


    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday February 21 2017, @05:53PM

      by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday February 21 2017, @05:53PM (#469791) Journal

      Damn closing bracket didn't come up :(

      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---